John Bradley

Parable Formerly Known As "Rats Solve Mazes in Dreams"

Folding out from my stomach with ease and efficiency, the wooden
chair makes its presence known without calling attention to itself.
Made of pine, it possesses only one of the necessary attributes of
prized furniture: not great expense, but the requisite discomfort.
Still, I admire its clean features, its simpleminded trustworthiness.
Planting the chair's far legs onto the floor and backing away, I
discover the chair expands to seat three, nine, a dozen, perhaps even
twenty-four at a banquet table. Not that such casual use was intended
by the chair's designer. No, a chair like this surely has some other,
more celestial purpose, relating to the four seasons, or the four edible
species of yarrow leaves, or the four positions for making love on the
night before the full moon. But as it has no practical use, I fold it
back into my stomach and lie back on my bed, the mattress stuffed with
pages torn from books it is better not to allow to fever the brain.
Along a beach, I dream I am strolling with my mother. Her belly bulges
a little with her own collapsible chair, though neither of us can be
bothered mentioning something so mundane.


John Bradley's parables are collected in Add Musk Here, recently published by Pavement Saw Press. John teachs writing at Northern Illinois University.